Christmas is almost here and with it my next slog to the airport. I love the idea of travel but hate the actuality of it – airports, planes, people… And let’s be real here, airports are where social norms go to die. At times I feel like it is a glimpse into what armageddon might feel like. Hordes of disheveled people walking without direction. Exorbitant prices with limited options. People sleeping on the floor. Voices from loud speakers. Children crying. Everything you expect when the end is near. And let’s not forget about the lounges…places where the elite can go to escape the chaos of the teeming masses. Maybe the airport is more like a Third World country. Our own little microcosm of the haves and the have nots. Until you get on the plane.
It’s great that more people can afford air travel but why does it have to be so impersonal and stressful? Why is 3oz/100ml the magic number? What if my toothpaste is 4.2 oz but half full? Does hummus count as a gel or a liquid? Do I really have to take off my shoes? Do you know how dirty that floor is? And the poor flight attendants. Once upon a time their jobs were glamorous and exotic. Now they are elbow deep in trash and human malcontent.
It would be one thing if all these changes/updates resulted in unparalleled efficiency or phenomenal customer service but the sad truth is that flights are still delayed, bags are still lost and people are still…people. Throw them into a confined space and watch the human experiment unfold.
What happened to the glory days of air travel – when people dressed up for trips, were given real meals and didn’t feel like they were on a flying bus, jammed so closely together that moving feels like an unwanted advance? Speaking of advances, it blows my mind that people actually want to join the “mile high club,” especially when they were strangers at the beginning of the flight. Those bathrooms are beyond disgusting. I do my best to wait until the beverage cart is in the aisle so I have no other option but to use the First Class bathroom. Part of this strategy is to get a seat as close to the front of the plane as possible. But back to getting it on in the bathroom… Nothing could compel me to get naked or even slightly naked in that space. When I used to travel frequently for work I would bring disenfectant wipes and clean every part of my seat. Yes, I have problems. Perhaps it is my lack of imagination or blatant germaphobia but I know pilots and I have heard stories. You may not get an STD but you could pick up something else highly contagious. That person in the back with the hacking cough is using that bathroom and touching everything. No one is safe. A plane is a tin can of infectious disease. I used to make fun of people who wore face masks to fly but I think they are the smart ones. The rest of us are in denial.
Happy Holidays and Safe Travels!